100 years + of collective legal malpractice experience

Precedents and conflicts of interest

by | Aug 13, 2020 | Legal Malpractice |

Lawyers may have a chance to represent two clients in very different situations. This can make the lawyer’s position appear a bit inconsistent. In many cases, this is actually fine. However, there are also ways in which it can create a conflict of interest that calls the lawyer’s performance and goals into question.

One example of how this can happen is if the case is going to set a legal precedent. The lawyer knows that winning that case will create the precedent, which could then be used in other cases that have not yet been resolved. Since the lawyer works in that field of law, they may be representing other clients with very different goals and positions.

This becomes an issue if the precedent set by Case A is going to “limit the lawyer’s effectiveness” in Case B. This could mean that the lawyer does not actually want to win Case A, hoping to keep that precedent out of the legal eye or to set another precedent entirely. If they lose Case A, is it because they lost on grounds that were legally consistent with the laws at the time — in which case any other lawyer would also have lost — or is it because they were worried about harming their own interests in Case B?

This is a question that may be worth asking for those who have seen winnable cases wind up in losses. Did your lawyer have some other personal goals in mind? Did they give you proper representation? If not, you may want to know what options you have at your disposal.